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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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No matter what the geographic density of people, it is clear that the strains upon the administrative resources of government are increased by the numbers of people that government must serve—just in terms of meeting the increasing demands for public services, such as public security, judicial processes, and legislation. Added to this are the specialized needs such as education, health, housing, transportation, communication, and whatever sort of regulatory devices seem needed to make the system operate with minimum friction. There is a high potential for conflict between central authority located in densely populated urban areas and local authority centered in rural, sparsely settled regions.
Differential Population Growth
Population growth is unlikely to be the same for all parts of a nation's population, partly because the mortality decline that creates growth is likely to be different from one sector of society to another, but principally because growth is ordinarily associated with socioeconomic changes that promote migration from one geographic and/or occupational sphere to another. Population redistribution has major political consequences: the breaking of old ties and forming of new ones on the part of the migrants, the dislocation costs for the sending and receiving populations as well as for the movers, a decline in the importance of systems of local political and social control. As development proceeds, populations tend to concentrate rather than disperse, and regional inequalities tend to become greater. One consequence of this process is that concentration in cities makes political organization more feasible.
Numbers and Political Power. Since numbers constitute an element in the relative political power of social groups, it follows that differential growth rates affect the distribution of political power within a society. This differential may be of less import for social classes than for ethnic groups, since the former are less visible and they gain and lose population by the process of social mobility associated with economic change. Conflicts between ethnic groups, on the other hand, are the counterpart within a nation of the kinds of conflicts between nations—conflicts that may be pursued by means of policies to gain demographic advantage. Ethnic groups are subpopulations with theirhic Density